This isn’t a Chevrolet Colorado, and it isn’t just the hacked-up bodywork over a ludicrously short wheelbase that gives it away. It’s the vehicle that’s accompanying it, where our spy photographer found it, and what’s underneath. Let us explain.
That SUV near this mule is a Ford Everest, sold abroad, mainly in Australia, New Zealand, some Asian countries, and South Africa. It’s a relative of the T6 Ranger, of which our North American Ranger is a derivative. But it’s not identical to our Ranger’s chassis. For one, the four-door, three-row SUV has a 112-inch wheelbase, while our Ranger gets a 126.8-inch wheelbase for all versions. The solid rear axle features a Watt’s linkage, shared with the overseas Ranger Raptor but not available here.
That’s what we see underneath this mule. The linkage mounts are adjustable, but this may just be for testing – after all, this mule is set up for stability and rollover testing. We also see front control arms that look very similar if not identical to the Everest’s. We should mention that we’re not expecting the Bronco to be a lightly-reworked Everest. Ford has said it’ll have unique bodywork. The Everest, like the rest-of-world Ranger, is a little plain for American tastes.
Also, check out that wheelbase. We can’t give you a precise figure, but it looks considerably shorter than the Everest’s 112 inches. We’re going to guess it’s closer to 100 inches, which puts it in the two-door Wrangler’s company. This squares with what we heard about a closed dealer event in Florida a few months back, in which two- and four-door prototypes of the new Bronco were shown.
While nothing is conclusive – Ford could be testing some wild combination of parts for some reason we can’t foresee – the simplest explanation is that this is a mule for a two-door Bronco wearing tongue-in-cheek camo, and that it’ll borrow heavily from its Everest cousin.